Friday, August 17, 2012

Eats: Planning Ahead

First and foremost, sorry for the long time absence. We were recently at the Chicago Veggie fest and got a few comments from people along the lines of "You guys write these interesting blogs, and then you just STOP!" So......sorry about that. I am making it a priority in my life to start keeping up with this blog just for you. But in order to do that, I think it needs to be made clear that this blog will have a large variety of content from food to fitness to everyday living to our travels etc etc. Hope you can deal with all that ;-)

 Today I want to talk to you about planning your meals ahead. DO you? If I don't plan my meals (roughly) in advance, it is inevitable that I will find myself with some less-than-healthy choice in my hand and I will feel guilty about it later. I'm not saying that you should feel guilty for every treat that you have, but you should be aware of them and know that that is what they are--treats. We have very busy schedules over here at Vegan Proteins and it seems like we are constantly playing a game of catch up, so cooking 3 times a day is often times, just unrealistic for us. But eating a balanced, varied, healthy diet is also very important to us. Here are some of the things that we do to make eating healthy, and easy over here.

 1. We cook in large batches. Usually enough to last about 3 days. This week, I cooked up large batches of quinoa, broccoli, collards, carrots, beets, and tofu. I also make up a jar of a ginger-garlic dressing that I am infatuated with at the moment. Put all of those things together and you have a delicious meal!

 2. Make sure you have plenty of storage containers. This may be a small obsession of mine. I love containers of all shapes and sizes and food containers are no exception. We only buy glass ones now, but if we eat out and have leftovers, we'll use the plastic take out container until we no longer can.

 3. Have an easy to make, nutritious breakfast every day. My personal favorite is Vega One in the Vanilla Chai flavor. I have a scoop with 1 cup of almond milk, and a big handful of ice. sometimes I throw in a half of a banana, or I have a cup of so of berries on the side. This ensures that I have a great platform to build on for the day. *BONUS* It doesn't make me nauseous before an intense workout the way some other breakfasts do.

 4. Have lots of go-to snacks on hand. Hands down our favorite quick snack is fruit. Apples, bananas, pears, mangoes and oranges are all portable and stay fresh for a while. berries, cherries an grapes are great if you have those handy containers too! Other snacks we like to have on hand are hummus and veggies or crackers, Vega Protein bars and our new Journey bars that I am crazy about, and if they're on sale/ I've been motivated enough to make them--Kale chips are my favorite!!!

 5. Let the seasons inspire you! We go to the farmers market every Saturday morning and get the produce that looks the best and sort of create simple meals around that before we hit up the other grocery stores. It helps give us focus and allows us to support our small community.

 6. Always have a few super fast meals up your sleeve. In general, we usually have a few of Amy's Gluten free vegan pizzas in the freezer and a couple of the frozen spinach and tofu burritos also. These are not staples in our diet, but on unexpected crazy nights, when something comes up and time disappears, these are life savers. We always have salad in the fridge and this rounds out the meal and leaves us satisfied and sane. 

7. Make dinner simple. Here at the Vegan Proteins house, we pretty much always know that dinner will be "Greens and Beans". :-) Dinner is always some kind of green sauteed or steamed veggie (we're on a broccoli rabe kick), and either beans or tofu. If we're still hungry after that, we have a piece of fruit or frozen grapes. Knowing that is what dinner will be nearly every night really takes the guess work out of it, and I appreciate that when my brain is already fried.

 How do you plan your meals? What do you eat? I love to hear new meal plan strategies! Let us know!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Juice Feast Recipes by Mr. X, Giacomo and Dani

It is Day 17 and we are going strong. We decided to go 3 weeks on juice and then gradually start to introduce some solid foods back into our diet. We anticipate that to happen next week.

Mr. X & the VeganProteins crew wanted to share some of our juice feast recipes. We think they are quite yummy!!

Tackling Fuel
1 lime
1-2 scoops of Berry Vega Whole Food Optimizer
1/8-1/4 of a pineapple
1 cup blueberries
2 cups strawberries
3 big handfuls of spinach or kale (remove the stems)
1 granny smith apple
1 champagne mango
1 banana
Directions: Manually juice the lime. Peel and toss everything into a 64oz blender with ice, add some water to desired consistency (2 cups or more), blend and serve.

Strawberry Good (Mr. X)
2 lemons
4 limes
2 bananas
12 strawberries
Directions: Manually juice the limes and lemons. Peel and toss everything into a 64oz blender with ice, add a bit of water to desired consistency (1/2 cup or more), blend and serve.

Homemade Spicy V8 (dani)
3 tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 bunch dill
1/2 lemon or lime
1 handful of spinach
6 large romaine lettuce leaves
1 large red bell pepper
1/2 jalapeƱo pepper
1 medium sweet yellow onion
1 medium sized beet
1 14.5oz can of Muir Glen stewed tomatoes (or whatever your local grocer carries without added sugar)
Directions: Juice everything and then throw into a 64oz blender with a 14.5oz can of stewed tomatoes. Blend and serve.
tobasco and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Sea Salt if desired.

Power Nectar
6 oranges
2 champagne mangoes
2 bananas
Directions: Manually juice the oranges. Peel and toss everything else into a 64oz blender with some ice, add a bit of water to desired consistency (1/2 cup or more), blend and serve.

What is your favorite recipe?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Juice Feasting to save Mr. X? Day 16. (~Giacomo)

We thought it would be pretty rad to do a mini journal of Mr. X's progress. His starting weight on April 1st was 272lbs. Today's weight..? 232!! In just 2 weeks Juice Feasting he has already lost 40lbs, making a DRASTIC transformation. You go guy!

April 1st Day 1:

Today, Day 16:

We should have been blogging about this all long. To respect a request of anonymity, we will refer to our buddy as Mr X. Recently, he had fell victim to congestive heart failure. What this basically means is that he has chronic heart issues even after the attack. Mr X. ate a typical American diet and was looking for a change, to kick start himself into a healthy lifestyle. That is where we came into play.

It was time for a little spring cleaning anyhow and so I decided to fully support his request for help and recommended we going on a juice feast together asap. Mr. X is currently living with us so that it is easier to be there for each other throughout this.

We chose a feast over a fast to save money. What is the difference? A Juice Fast is when you consume nothing but juices. A Juice "feast" is where you consume a mix of juices and blended smoothies. Less waste, not as hard on your body and you go through less produce so it's much more cost efficient.

Mr. X is doing 2 scoops of Vega Whole Food Optimizer a day in a blended smoothie and then nothing but fruit and veggie juices for the rest of the day.

What is most important ultimately is the journey. I was ready to gear up for a mini bulking season before Mr. X approached me asking for help. It is much more important to be able to help someone else in need, than to build some muscle in my opinion. So that's the direction for a little while. We are taking it day by day with no specific end date in mind yet although we may taper off this on Sunday.

As you can see from these pictures, we go through a lot of fresh fruits and veggies!

We will be updating more regularly on this journey, possibly even daily this week! Look forward to posting more about our adventure into the world of saving lives and juice feasting one bunch of kale at a time. As Herbivore so eloquently put it, only kale can save us now!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Can Fitness Aid in Cancer Treatment?

Today's entry is from a guest blogger. There is a good chance that disease can strike someone close to you at one point or another. Cancer in specific has affected out family. We found this article that Liz Davies has so kindly shared to be insightful and informative.

The American Cancer Society has done studies that show how important for individuals who are fighting diseases to stay in shape, maintain a healthy weight, stay positive and eat a healthy diet. These things have revealed to improve the recovery time and lead to fewer health problems. In the case of cancer is improves treatment symptoms and lessens the risk of cancer reoccurrence.

One of the main symptoms that can arise from cancer treatment is exhaustion. The treatment as well as the disease puts a big emotional burden on the patient and it can often be very hard to handle. Exercises and physical activity tends to be low on the to-do list but exercise can increase energy levels and make coping with the disease easier to handle.

Cancer an emotional burden and therefore causes a lot of stress and unfortunately, stress is connected to a decrease in health. Exercise tackles this issue in multiple ways. “Feel good” chemicals, or endorphins, are released during exercise that leads to a better emotional state. Physical activity also creates better circulation and blood flow throughout the body which helps the immune system combat cancer and recuperation. It also supplies a distraction from other intense matters.

The immune system is increased when there is a daily exercise program in place due to the features of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system echoes the vessels of the cardiovascular system and depends on it to deliver fluids to every part of the body. Activity allows the immune system to work at the optimal point.

Battling exhaustion is a stress that a sick person should not have to deal with in addition to the therapy and the actual disease; exercise is a natural way to curb this fatigue. It is well known cancer treatments, whether that is chemotherapy, surgery or radiation, can be painful. Staying active leads to better pain tolerance.

When discussing exercise for cancer patients it is important to understand that no one expects anyone to be running marathons. Everyone is different and has a different fitness level. Engaging in tai chi, walking, yoga, gardening, or even putting groceries away is enough daily activity for some people while others might need to go running or take a kickboxing class. Whatever the case is, it is important to discuss an exercise routine with a doctor or personal trainer who is versed in cancer treatments. It is necessary to find the appropriate amount of activity whether the cancer patient is receiving treatment for breast cancer or mesothelioma.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.